In the world today, we barely have time to use fresh vegetables before they rot in our fridge let alone make elaborate nutrient-rich meals throughout the day. However, food is fuel. What we put into our bodies is arguably the number one piece to our health as a whole.
The landscape to nutrition is vast and each person has very specific needs due to their bio-individuality. This means there is no “one size fits all” diet. However, I feel the simple list below can help most of us sustain energy, increase nutrients and improve digestion.
1) Eat More Vegetables
Okay, I know. You have heard this a million times. Like I mentioned above it can be difficult to find time to create meals and use fresh vegetables. But here we are talking about it because they are still the biggest game-changer. Dark, leafy greens, in particular, are incredibly important. Research links these vegetables packed with vitamins, minerals, and fiber (but low in calories) to numerous health benefits including reduced risk of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, and gaining a sharper memory. They are also packed with vitamins E and K, and folate, which helps in reducing inflammation.
Quick Tip: Frozen vegetables are just as good, if not better than fresh. Stock up your freezer. Also, eating raw vegetables can sometimes cause bloat and be harder to digest. If this sounds familiar, keep a quality digestive on hand for the times you need it.
Favorite Simple Meal Addition: Fresh Baby Boc Choy – Rinse, chop in half, sauté in sesame oil for 3-5 min. Add seasoning to taste.
2) Keep Your Fats Healthy
Fat is necessary for the health of our brain, nervous system, and heart. When it is balanced with other nutrition, fat can make you healthier. Fats help absorb vitamins, speed up your metabolism, and help regulate your blood sugar.
However, when eating fats, we need to make sure we are enjoying the ones that support overall health. Science suggests that people should eat less saturated fats (meat, dairy, eggs) and replace them with essential monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Consumption of healthy fats is said to improve cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and a reduced risk of heart disease. Nuts, seeds, and avocado are common sources of monounsaturated fats, while sunflower oil, flax seeds, fatty fish, and walnuts are common sources of polyunsaturated fats.
Quick tip: Keep prepackaged servings of nuts in your car or bag in case you are late for a meal.
Favorite Simple Meal Addition: Add avocado, pumpkin seeds, sliced olives or pine nuts to a salad.
“Success is the sum of small efforts—repeated day-in and day-out.” —Robert Collier
3) Reduce Refined Sugar
Here I am again with the same old phrase. I won’t even go into an explanation of why refined sugar bad because I know we have all heard it before. Instead, let's focus on the best ways we can treat ourselves and not feel as restricted. Try keeping a handful of decent desserts or healthy sweets on hand for when you need them. I love a nice dark chocolate. Check the labels on the chocolate bars and shoot for a brand with the least amount of sugar or ones that use monk fruit or coconut sugar etc. I also enjoy fruit but usually opt for ones with less sugar such as berries, kiwi, or grapefruit.
Quick Tip: To help curb sugar cravings start your morning with enough protein as it will help control your blood sugar levels as you begin your day. Also, add a slice of fresh fruit to your water while you sip on it.
Favorite Simple Dessert: Avocado Chocolate Mousse! You can purchase variations of this chocolate mousse at most health food stores in the refrigerated section, but if you want to make it yourself here is the ingredient list and method below.
Ingredients: 2 ripe bananas, 2 avocados, 2 tablespoons almond butter, 2 tablespoons coconut milk, ½ cup raw cacao powder
Place the banana, avocado, nut butter, cacao powder, coconut milk and a pinch of salt in a blender until smooth. Pour into a shallow serving dish, then cover and chill for 30 minutes or until set. Top with the cacao nibs or berries to serve.
“The doctor of the future will no longer treat the human frame with drugs, but rather will cure and prevent disease with nutrition.” – Thomas Edison
About the Author:
Keary Ann Bixby, founder of two Los Angeles based health and wellness businesses, has been involved in health and fitness since an early age. Playing sports throughout her youth, Keary’s love for conditioning was just the beginning of a budding career in wellness. In 2003 she fell in love with Pilates and its focus on the mind-body connection. After 10 years of teaching, and completing two comprehensive Pilates and yoga trainings, she developed her own teacher training program to educate and inspire others throughout the nation.
In 2015, Keary welcomed daughter Teagen. Her new role as a mother and studies in nutrition, lifestyle medicine, and individual trauma deepened her understanding of the mental and physical challenges women face and the importance of a holistic wellness approach. This allowed her to create and offer more specialized healing programs. Her spirit for growth in physical and emotional well-being can be found in her movement and wellness sessions, workshops, trainings, and retreats. www.kearyannbixby.com